The future's Orange?

One thing I have particularly despised about Glasgow is the sectarianism. The west central belt is sadly blighted by the inflated importance of Protestantism and Catholicism and the rivalry and hatred between those who would profess to identify with them. That football has become a… well, football in this schism would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic.

Until now, though, I’ve taken reassurance in the fact that this blight on the face of Scotland is a sickness only in irrelevant little corners of Glasgowshire that nobody really cares about.

Imagine my shock and disgust, therefore, when I read in the Sunday Herald that this weekend saw Inverness’s first Orange march for twenty years. I nearly shed a tear as I read that the Weegie disease has now infected the Highlands (see also the Inverness Courier).

I cannot state enough how pathetic I regard Orangeism to be. Originating in the Protestant communities of Ireland who are descended from British migrants, it’s ostensibly a movement that stands for Britishness, for Protestantism, and for loyalty to the monarchy.

However, it’s sad that those three beliefs actually have no logical basis. Let me explain:

Britishness – Orangemen are from Ireland. Simple as that. They come from Northern Ireland. Northern what? Ah yes, Ireland. They might be the ancestors of Brits, but that was hundreds of years ago, and that makes them less British than the average Australian or American. So how can they claim or uphold a nationality that isn’t theirs?

Protestantism – what is Protestantism, except a version of Christianity? It is nothing more and nothing less than an interpretation of the relationship between people and God, and a model of church government. You cannot be Protestant without being Christian, in the same way that you can’t be Northern Irish without being Irish. And Orangeism demonstrates that it is not Christian, and therefore can’t be Protestant.

Think about it: people who love Jesus and want to tell the world about him are Christians. People who wear bowler hats, play the flute and have a warped view of history are just twats and wouldn’t know Protestantism if someone nailed it to them.

Loyalism – quite how the Queen feels enamoured by having the drunken allegiance of a bunch of fat, Rangers top-wearing, uneducated neds, I am not sure. Certainly most people on this side of the Irish Sea couldn’t give a hoot about what loyalists think. It’s sad and deluded that they are loyal to something that doesn’t actually want them.

The fact that that there are people over here, in Britain, who actually empathise with these retards is astonishing. I’ve seen one or two Orange marches in Glasgow, and have only just managed to resist the temptation to shout at them to go back to Ireland.

I hope that their filth one day leaves Scotland. Or at least never rears its head in Inverness again.

And don’t get me started on the other side of the divide…

10 thoughts on “The future's Orange?

  1. OK Simon, I’m going to take a heavy swipe in response: hope you don’t mind bro!

    I quite like the tunes as they walk past. Taken from a purely aesthetic point of view, it’s quite a nice thing to do. There’s a sense of community, a gaiety and a respect for tradition which is quite appealing. If they’re making a political statement (which is their democratic right), surely it’s better to do it with flutes than with petrol bombs?

    I’m not a defender of the orange order or what it stands for. But I know that not everyone who is in the orange order is filled with hatred for catholics or the Irish or republicans or the colour green. Many do have that hatred, but it’s borne out of a lack of wisdom and understanding.

    Many people see the order as a club, something to believe in, something to defend, something that gives them identity. It’s a natural tendency of human beings to want to belong. Some members will even be a part of it because they want to see reform from the inside.

    Honestly Simon, what right does a Christian have to call another person, or group of people “filth”? That’s hatred right there, and while it might ostensibly purport to be hatred of an ideal or belief, it’s not couched in appropriate language. Lack of care in this area encourages emnity, and serves no positive purpose. Is it a rallying call to fight injustice, or an excuse for condemning a whole portion of society in one fell swoop? Let the reader decide, according to his own leanings, shall we?

    Sweeping statements that miss the point of historical, religious and political factioning shed little light on the complexity, and therefore the solution of a problem.

    Remember that people use similar arguments to dismiss Christianity. It’s called a disease, a club, a crutch, an excuse for hatred & war…you name it. But the Truth is out there somewhere.

    If you take exception to the orange order’s views on Catholicism, explain why. Religiously it is based on the doctrine of the trinity, and its central relevance to the Christian faith. Is it the use of this doctrine to cause faction that you disagree with? I might be inclined to agree with that, but I’m ill-informed of the catholic belief to really make a categorical judgement. A good discussion about that might shed light on an aspect of the differences that exist, though.

    How many Christians do you know who could tell you the primary tenets of their faith, the reasons that they’re involved with a certain denomination of Christianity? Not many, I’d expect :ost might muddle through. I’m in that category, probably.

    Now ask yourself: why did you join St Silas? The welcome? The way they showed a willingness to take your points on board? Or was it the religious structure of the Anglican communion, with their specific set of beliefs that really swung it?

    Most of the members of the orange order won’t be able to articulate why they are members, other than “my dad’s in it” or “I play snare in the band” or other social identity reasons. It’s important to human beings to belong.

    Remember that the issue at the bottom of “the troubles” is one of belonging. People get extremely upset when they feel their cultural, political, geographical or religious identity is being attacked and they will respond against it. In a sense, it doesn’t matter how it came to be a part of their identity: all that matters is that it is, and when you insult it, you attempt to rob another human being of their dignity.

    Moral? Careless and angry vitriol against a group (however misguided the group may or may not be) will only strengthen its ranks against you. Remember the traveller with the cloak in Aesop’s fables? Seek to get alongside and understand why they’re doing what they’re doing and you’ll be a better person for it. Not only that, you’ll be one of many who instigates change, respect and progress amongst the disparate tribes squabbling around on God’s green (and in places orange) earth.

  2. Just to clarify, I was calling their ideas “filth”, not the people.

    And thanks, Greg, for clarifying that their religious dislike of Roman Catholicism comes out of their interpretation of the role the trinity plays in the Christian faith.

    Sorry for not recognising such sensitive and deep theological subtleties in amongst the sashes, marches, flutes, drums, pride, intimidation and silly hats – I should have realised that such posturing and bigotry is a respectful, rational and totally natural way to engage in an intellectual/spiritual debate with fellow Christians.

  3. Of course they’re not trying to engage in a debate. They’re expressing their cultural heritage, and out of that list only intimidation (and possibly pride) are really worth complaining about.

    Yes, I agree that it’s insensitive to blatantly disregard the feelings and beliefs of the people you are marching past, but there is more to a march than this. Should gay people not be allowed to march past churches? Christians past abortion clinics? BB past scout halls? Is it not possible to march past someone who doesn’t subscribe to the same outlook without insulting them?

    Some people who march are just saying “here we are, this is what we believe. We are being open about it and we’re celebrating it”. There’s plenty who will add “if you don’t like it, F*** off”. That’s what’s insensitive and insulting, not the act in itself.

    We’re a democracy and people should be allowed to march to make their voices heard whether they are in the right or not. If it’s done with intimidation at the heart of it, then it’s wrong and we should try to dissuade it. That’s what the KKK do. That’s what certain march routes are about, especially in NI.

    My only caution is against lumping every single orange march together as being arranged for the same evil reasons. Most marches go along without a hitch. They turn a corner, the music disappears and the cars drive on.

    Hatred and intimidation will come and go. Eventually, as the NI troubles are forgotten about, all we’ll have is history and tradition robbed of slight and malice, and some nice tunes, a sense of heritage, and a colourful parade.

  4. When our current second-in-line to the throne comes to power, I think that he should take sponsorship from a mobile-phone company and become “King William of Orange”. It has a nice ring to it…

  5. “f you take exception to the orange order’s views on Catholicism, explain why. Religiously it is based on the doctrine of the trinity, and its central relevance to the Christian faith. Is it the use of this doctrine to cause faction that you disagree with? I might be inclined to agree with that, but I’m ill-informed of the catholic belief to really make a categorical judgement. A good discussion about that might shed light on an aspect of the differences that exist, though.”

    BA, could you explain this, because at first read it seems like madness. Are you really suggesting that you think the orange order’s objection to Catholicism is that Catholics aren’t Trinitarians?

    The orange types aren’t against Catholics for theological reasons. Their reasons began as political and have since become tribal.

    They’re no no more Christians than their ethnic Catholic counterparts who think that listening to irish rebel songs and going to Parkhead every other Saturday constitues Catholicism.

    I grew up in a small west coast town where orange marches were and are still extremely popular. Our cul-de-sac was the start and finish point for their marches.

    My experience is that the assorted marchers no more have a theological purpose in mind than do the fans on a Celtic supporters’ bus singing ‘The Fields of Athenry’ have in mind the celebration of the mysteries of transubstantiation.

  6. m0ok, regarding the trinitarian aspect: I am in error and thanks for pointing that out. Their requirements for membership include being a protestant and believing in the trinity. This means that catholics cannot join because they are not protestant, not because they don’t believe in the trinity! My ignorance of catholicism caused me to jump to that conclusion, when it is of course certain other religious groups who are excluded on the trinitarian grounds (eg Mormons, Jehovah’s witnesses etc)

    I also agree that for an (unfortunately vocal) percentage of the marchers, religion really doesn’t come into it. They are using it for their own malicious and inflammatory ends.
    What I’m warning against is the scattergun approach of “shouting back” in anger rather than responding with insight. If you complain vehemently about orange walks being bigoted and moronic, you set yourself against many things which are, in and of themselves, not bad things. Instead, I suggest that care should be taken to aim your arguments at the aspects which are deplorable. Marches are only the vehicle.

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